If you have ever wondered how solar panels work but didn’t want to read an overly scientific explanation, this article is for you. Click here to understand.
Did you know that the cost of solar panels, on average, dropped about 70% since 2014? Solar power holds incredible potential for the United States; 22,000 square miles of panels (about the area of Lake Michigan) could power the whole US.
Have you considered installing solar panels on your home and business but became overwhelmed when trying to understand how they work? Read this post to understand in simple terms how solar panels work.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
At their most basic, solar panels catch energy from the sun and turn it into electricity for your home. But how?
First, the light from the sun hits the solar panel and develops an electric field. Next, that electricity moves to the sides of the panel and down a conductive wire.
The wire takes the electricity to an inverter. The inverter transforms direct current (energy that flows in one direction) to alternating current (energy that cycles back and forth in regular intervals).
Now that the power is AC, it flows through our home as needed. Any excess electricity runs through your utility meter and into the general electrical grid. As electricity passes through your meter, the meter runs backward and credits your utility account.
What If It’s Not Sunny?
How do solar panels work at night or on a cloudy day? On cloudy days solar panels still work. However, solar panels work less effectively.
On a cloudy day, they can produce around 10-25% of the normal capacity. Interestingly enough, solar panels do not work as well in overly hot climates. Solar output starts to fall if the temperature climbs above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
As far as at night? Solar panels do not work. While they can use the moon or street lamps to produce energy, the output is extremely low. Homes with solar panels either store energy in solar battery banks or use the traditional electrical grid to power things at night.
Are Solar Panels Right for You?
Before you run out and get solar panels, consider a few variables. Permits, weather patterns, and tax incentives may influence your decision.
If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA or in a condo/townhouse community, there may be restrictions in place around the installation of solar panels. Check community guidelines before you get quotes.
If you live in sunny Arizona, you should factor in the excessive heat dragging down your output. If you are in Alaska, the long stretches of darkness in the winter might affect your choice. If you live in Texas, Blue Raven Solar installers can walk you through the pros and cons.
There may be positive ramifications like tax incentives or rebates that bring the installation cost of solar down. These things working together make solar more accessible than ever.
Learning More About Solar Panels
So, now you have a basic understanding of how solar panels work. Maybe it’s time to utilize the power of the sun for your home or business?
Check out other posts on our blog today to learn more interesting information!